Japan Economic Update
In recent economic news Japan continues to forge ahead with free trade and has formally approved gambling resorts. On the trade front, CPTPP negotiators met in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture in July to expedite implementation of the agreement. According to Japanese trade officials the agreement is scheduled to come into effect in early 2019. Negotiators also began discussions to expand CPTPP membership to include Columbia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. Formal negotiations for entry of these nations is expected to commence as soon as the initial agreement among founding members is implemented in early 2019. Also in July, top officials from the European Union visited Tokyo to sign and implement the Japan-EU EPA agreement. Based on the largely on the template of the Japan-EU EPA and the CPTPP, Japan is also advancing negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement with 16 Southeast Asian nations. Beneath the global trade war headlines, Japan is quietly doubling down and moving forward on multilateral global free trade agreements.
After years of rancorous debate, Japan’s LDP government pushed through its Integrated Resort law in July, which will permit gambling at resort type casinos in Japan. The law initially allows for three Integrated Resorts to be established in Japan. The leading locations are rumoured to be Nagasaki, Osaka, Yokohama and Tomakomai. The intent of the law is to stimulate tourism and growth in local economies. Leading gambling industry heavyweights such as MGM, Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and the like are lining up investment proposals rumoured in the 10’s of billions of dollars.